Mortal Kombat 1 has the best starting roster in the series | GAME3A

Mortal Kombat 1 has the best starting roster in the series

As much as I have enjoyed Mortal Kombat 11, it is by far my least favored game from the modern era, particularly as a defender of Mortal Kombat X. The...

Ashley Bardhan Sept 13, 2023
Mortal Kombat 1 has the best starting roster in the series

As much as I have enjoyed Mortal Kombat 11, it is by far my least favored game from the modern era, particularly as a defender of Mortal Kombat X. The time-consuming progression for equipment, the overall slower gameplay, and mechanics such as Krushing Blows and excessively long Fatal Blows left a bitter aftertaste for me. However, the most disappointing aspect was the unimaginative roster of characters that the game presented.

Mortal Kombat 11 took the roster from MKX and diminished it in every aspect. Not only were the most intriguing newcomers like Takeda and Kung Jin removed, but fan favorites such as Mileena, Kenshi, and Reptile were also excluded. Simultaneously, the game continued the modern tradition of Mortal Kombat, disregarding the existence of long-awaited fighters from the 3D era, like Nitara and Ashrah.

Combining this with the perplexing decision to focus on the incredibly dull characters of the Special Forces and the Black Dragon, the initial roster felt drier than Outworld. Well, at least we got some intriguing new fighters like Cetrion and The Kollector, right? Oh, wait, they were disappointing. Let's forget about it.

Mortal Kombat 1 Has The Series

In the end, NetherRealm managed to turn things around and provided great additions post-launch, such as RoboCop, Fujin, and the return of Mileena. Nevertheless, the initial roster of Mortal Kombat 11 was undoubtedly the weakest the series has seen since Deception. Fortunately, Mortal Kombat 1 did not repeat the mistakes of its predecessor and presents the finest starting lineup the series has ever had.

Let's begin with the big ones - the ninjas. Naturally, we have Scorpion and Sub-Zero in their usual leading roles, but Reptile finally returns after his absence in Mortal Kombat 11. Smoke is back and better than ever, having strangely missed out on two consecutive games, and he is accompanied by Rain, who is also making his first appearance outside of DLCs, goodness knows since when. He has also made the transition from ninja to sorcerer, which is simply the coolest damn thing ever. The only two notable omissions here are Noob Saibot and Ermac, but considering that Bi-Han is still Sub-Zero in this timeline and Ermac is coming as part of the first Kombat Pack, we can forgive NetherRealm for that.

It's a major win to have all these beloved ninjas here, but perhaps even cooler is the return of characters from the 3D era. I never thought I'd see Nitara, Havik, Ashrah, Li Mei, and Reiko resurface in modern Mortal Kombat, but here they are, and aside from Megan Fox's peculiar voice acting, they are better than ever, with more captivating personalities and intriguing movesets.

Mortal Kombat 1 Has The Series

The ensemble is rounded out by the usual stars like Liu Kang, Kung Lao, Mileena, and Raiden, all of whom have received a rejuvenation as a result of the time jump. I was skeptical of the Fire God Liu Kang and the humble farm boy Raiden, but it offers a much more intriguing dynamic than the slow-burning distrust between the two and the constant talk of consulting the Elder Gods. Johnny Cage and Kitana could have been given a bit more to make them feel like fresh interpretations, but I won't complain because Johnny Cage is, well, Johnny Cage.

It's not just that all the character selections here are excellent; they also play amazingly well. There are a few that I haven't quite mastered yet, like the formidable General Shao and the surprisingly tricky Smoke, but each character feels distinctly different from both the others and their previous incarnations. Simply put, there are no weak links here, and everyone plays fantastically. Even the brutal Geras is impressive, something my former self would surely slap me in the face for admitting.

Although there are some fighters I would have liked to see in the new timeline, such as Skarlet, Kung Jin, and Kabal, it still feels like NetherRealm has selected the best characters Mortal Kombat has to offer for this new timeline. Cameos also contribute to showing a certain level of respect for inactive fighters like Stryker and Darrius, while allowing stagnant characters like Jax and Sonya (come on, you know you're also tired of them) to make an appearance without overcrowding the roster.

Mortal Kombat 1 Has The Series

The only thing that truly feels missing in the starting lineup of Mortal Kombat 1 is a completely new playable character. It would have been nice to see some fresh blood, but even that doesn't feel like a significant loss here when we witness the return of heroes and villains we haven't seen in 17 years, all with new looks that make them practically appear brand new.

I'm confident that by the end of Mortal Kombat 1's extensive DLC plans, we will have an absolutely stunning roster (especially with damn Omni-Man and Homelander in Kombat Pack 1). But as it stands now, this is undoubtedly the best starting lineup of fighters that Mortal Kombat has ever had.

Please add Jade to the game now so I can stop seeing her trending on Twitter.